FCB Wins Feds’ Anti-Violence Gig

PSAs to Break in 2000; Focus Is Challenge
WASHINGTON, D.C.–Foote, Cone & Belding has been tapped by the National Campaign Against Youth Violence, created by President Clinton after this year’s Columbine High School shooting, to create a PSA campaign that could curb such acts.
The San Francisco shop plans to develop an integrated pro bono campaign–including print, radio, TV and the Internet–before April, which marks the first anniversary of the shooting. The focus will be on sensitizing Americans to violence and giving teenagers tangible ways to solve problems.
FCB was recommended by The Advertising Council because of the agency’s prior experience with youth-oriented campaigns. The shop has handled the Levi’s account and currently does work for MTV.
“Some PSA campaigns tend to be lecturing,” explained account supervisor at FCB John Sheehan, who indicated that a challenge may be to design a message capable of being heard in the increasingly crowded field of PSAs. “We have to do something different to break through.”
Jeff Bleich, executive director of the White House effort, said he believes the campaign should offer alternatives to violence. “Violence is learned behavior and it can be unlearned,” he said.
Bleich added that the media is not to blame, despite a federal probe of entertainment-industry marketing practices now under way to determine if violence is being peddled to children. “We, as a culture, demand violent images of our media,” he said. K